First Chapters
Senior Thesis, 2022
Over the years, interest in reading amongst both adults and children has continued to decline. Although we can attribute this to the rapid rise of technology and social media, I think we should also critique the design of the traditional reading experience and its role in this waning interest. From speaking with friends and others who do not read regularly, I have gathered that they feel daunted and overwhelmed by the prospect of opening a book to pages of continuous text set in small type and struggle with staying interested and motivated to read. My thesis aims to explore how designers can reimagine and reformat books in a more visually engaging and digestible way, in order to promote literacy and leisurely reading to more people.
My idea is to reimagine the first chapters of various books, starting with Circe by Madeline Miller. Although it is one of my favorite books, many reviews have suggested that Miller’s descriptive writing style makes the book feel dense and slow. This project explores the use of layout and illustration to control the pacing of the story, highlight descriptive passages, and maintain interest through visual elements. I hope that my project generates more enthusiasm for reading, and that this first chapter of Circe can be the beginning of many more chapters to come for those who initially believed reading wasn’t for them.
Project completed at Parsons School of Design, Fall 2020